Saturday, October 22, 2016

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Sharel Cassity, Ingrid Jensen & Ben Wolfe

Today, let's take a look at three musicians who will be sharing the stage next Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Saxophonist Sharel Cassity, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and bassist Ben Wolfe aren't regular bandmates, but all three will be in town next week to do educational residencies for Jazz St. Louis, and they'll then join forces (presumably augmented by a local musician or two) to wrap things up with two nights of public performances at the Bistro.

Wolfe may be the most familiar to St. Louis audiences, as he released a couple of albums as a leader on the locally based label MAXJAZZ (acquired earlier this year by Detroit's Mack Avenue Records). However, the 54-year-old bassist probably is best known as an accompanist, particularly for his work with highly visible performers including singer/pianist Harry Connick Jr., trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and singer and pianist Diana Krall, as well as many others.

Cassity, the youngest of the three at 38, played at the Sheldon here in St. Louis last year as part of the Dizzy Gillespie tribute band led by bassist John Lee. In addition to fronting her own groups, the Iowa native also has worked with trumpeter Nicolas Payton; big bands including the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, the Jimmy Heath Big Band, and the Roy Hargrove Big Band; and numerous other small groups.

Jensen, who's 50 years old and hails from Vancouver, is a Berklee graduate who moved to NYC in the late 1980s. From busking in subway stations and playing pickup gigs, she's risen gradually to headliner status, working along the way with composer/arranger Maria Schneider's acclaimed big band, bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding, pop singer Corrine Bailey Rae, keyboardist Jason Miles, and many others. Jensen also has been nominated twice for Juno awards - the Canadian equivalent of the Grammys - and won in 1995 for her album Vernal Fields.

You can see Cassity and her band Elektra in the first video up above, performing a full set recorded in July of this year at Dizzy's Club in NYC's Jazz at Lincoln Center. Along with the leader on alto and soprano sax, the group includes guitarist Mark Whitfield, keyboardist Miki Hayama, bassist Rashaan Carter, and drummer Lucianna Padmore.

After the jump, you can see Cassity fronting an acoustic quintet with E .J. Strickland (drums), Josh Evans (trumpet), Victor Gould (piano) and Yasushi Nakamura (bass) in an excerpt from a set recorded this past April at Teatro Vivian Blumenthal in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Next, you can see Jensen starring in a episode of Discover Jazz, a program produced by Vermont PBS, that aired for the first time earlier this month. The performance features Jensen and her sister, saxophonist Christine Jensen, with a rhythm section including pianist Jon Cowherd, bassist Matt Clohesy, and drummer Jon Wikan.

Below that, you can see Jensen's set from this year's Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival, recorded in May at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

Finally, you can see Wolfe providing the low end for two very different performances - a stripped-down rendition of "Stardust" by guitarist and singer Doug Wamble, recorded in 2015, and a radically reworked version of "Autumn Leaves" with pianist Orrin Evans and drummer Obed Calvaire, recorded in 2011.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

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